Good afternoon all! The 2017 soft red winter wheat crop is growing and changing daily. Following is an update on this year’s crop.
It is much too early at this time to predict the quality of the crop we’ll see this year, and the next few weeks will be critical to its development. Currently, the crop is rated 45% good to excellent in Kentucky, 72% good to excellent in Illinois, and 71%/81% good to excellent in Indiana and Ohio, respectively. Plantings are down slightly in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, ranging from 81%-96% of the previous years’ plantings. We will be carefully monitoring crop development and weather conditions over the next few weeks. Along with this update, I am including a wheat development scale, which may help you better understand some of the terms used in this update.
The crop rating is down in Kentucky this year due to freeze damage sustained during a late freeze. The timing of recent rain events was not ideal, and we’ll know more about the impact of those rains in another week or two. Cool temperatures are ideal for grain fill, and some sunshine would be welcome to prevent disease from moving in later. At this time, the crop appears to be about a week ahead of schedule.
The crop in Illinois develops about ten days later than in Kentucky. The crop was in very good shape prior to the recent rains. The majority of the wheat in our draw area is finished flowering, though some in the northernmost regions is still in the flowering stage. Recent rains have caused some concern for fusarium head blight, but the cooler temperatures may help to mitigate that concern. Fungicides have been applied in many areas, and some sunny, dry weather would be ideal for the next few weeks. We estimate that the crop in this area is about a week to ten days ahead of average.
The crop in Indiana develops at about the same rate as that in Illinois. Indiana wheat is similar in its development cycle as that of Illinois. The crop in Ohio develops about 10 days behind that in Illinois and Indiana. Ohio wheat has not begun heading yet for the most part, but will in the next seven to ten days. For all areas concerned, sunny, dry weather would be ideal for a few weeks.
At this stage, it is too early to predict when harvest will start, but we can estimate that we will start receiving new crop wheat in Kentucky around mid-June, and around the end of June to early July in Illinois and Indiana. Transition dates for all three of our mills will depend upon the timing of harvest and the quality of this year’s crop. We will be sending periodic crop updates to our customers to keep them informed of the latest wheat crop conditions. Future communications will include more specific plans for crop transition.